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Uber

The German loanword uber, which sometimes functions as a prefix and sometimes as an adjective, means super or very. The German word has an umlaut over the u—über—but the umlaut is often omitted in English. In German, the word also means over or above, but the subtleties of the German word don’t extend to the English definition.

Uber is new to English and has not appeared in many dictionaries. It may never rise above buzzword status, which would make sense, because super always works in place of uber and is much better established (and less buzzwordy) than uber.

When uber is a prefix, one may attach it to its adjective without a hyphen—for example, ubertalented, ubertrendy, uberstylish—but many writers, perhaps heeding spell check, do include the unnecessary hyphen.

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Examples

Miami relies on three uber-talented individuals who alternate hogging the ball. [The Atlantic]

Days later Utley was rocking out at East London’s uber-trendy Tabernacle club. [Telegraph]

Let’s start with the uber rich — oil companies — and work our way down. [Los Angeles Times]

So how would switched-on, uber-connected 20-somethings fare without their hand-held gadgets? [Stuff.co.nz]

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